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BitFenix Spectre LED fans, tested and reviewed

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Searching for these fans you find minimal information on them, so I thought I would review these fans so others have information on them to help deciding wether to get them or not.

If you would like to read the story of how I came to decide on these fans in particular then continue directly below. If not then just continue past it to the THE REVIEW section.

I've had my eye on these fans for quite a while as they look great and the figures for these fans seem very enticing and suggested only good things; high CFM while staying very quiet and well priced. Probably like many others the only thing stopping me buying these fans was the lack of information and reviews from users.

I knew; that whatever fans I choose to go with; I wanted to replace all 10 fans in my current system (which were just a mish mash collection of different fans from different brands) so my system would finally match and feel co-ordinated. This meant then that I needed to commit to spending a fair amount of money on just fans so they needed to be just right.

I already had an image in my head that the fans had to be black with white LED's to make the fans stand out and add pockets of light to my quite dark system. However after many hours of searching through lots of sites all that could be found is a brief review from about 2009, a BitFenix introduction video to the fans on youtube and 2 short clips of different 140mm fans making a very loud and very annoying clicking noise while spinning. Even after searching through this forum all that could be found was people asking if these fans were worth getting and basically the replies were "I'm not really sure but I recommend these" and that's it.

I decided it was time to give these fans a chance and let others know what they are really like and whether they really are worth it. So I've made the leap and bought 2 x 140mm and 8 x 120mm white LED spectre fans, and here's what these fans are really like.
1369341-a.jpg1369341-b.jpg

THE REVIEW

This review only looks at the black 120mm and 140mm LED spectre fan versions as these are the sizes with little to no reviews or information about them. The 200mm and 230mm are usually fitted in the Collosus and Survivor cases by BitFenix and therefore much more reviews and information exist for them. The other reason I haven’t done the 200mm and 240mm or white versions is because they wouldn't fit in my system in both senses of the word.

PACKAGING

The packaging the fans come in have very nice styling to them and work well at presenting the fans. The packaging is black to match the fan and has a big cut out showing off the fan with it's sickle blade fins and a nice looking BitFenix logo sticker stuck on the centre of the fan. The packaging is not much bigger than the fan inside it so there is minimum waste of packaging and works well as all 10 of my fans arrived safely without as much as a scratch.

DESIGN

The 120mm fans seem to have had an update in terms of design as the brief review I saw of these fans from 2009 stated these fans came with multi-coloured connector wires, however the ones I received all had a nice black casing around all the wiring, which worked well for my theme. The same could not be said about the 140mm versions however as they both had the old style multi-coloured wiring.

The fan casing and blades are both made of the same black semi -transparent material, which allows the lights from the LED's to pass through. Note that this means that the light won’t just be seen through the blades if that’s what you are after.

BUILD QUALITY

The build quality of the Spectre is quite good, no flexing occurred at all after trying to twist the case and the fins didn't bend when I applied some pressure to them, unlike my first Noctua NF-12P fan which snapped almost instantly after applying just a bit of pressure.

CONNECTIONS & ACCESSORIES

Like I mentioned above all the 120mm came with black flexible casing which kept the power wiring clean looking, however the 140mm fans have two nasty coloured power wires, which seemed strange to case the wires for one size fan and not do the other. The power wire has a 3 pin fan end but no 4 pin Molex end unlike a lot of fans today which usually have a choice of both, the wires are about 45cm/17.8in, which should be enough for most cases except the extremely large cases which may need fan extender wires.

The fans also come with a separate 2 pin wire which allows each fan to be connected to a BitFenix's Hydra LED controller which fits in any PCI slot and can control the intensity of up to 9 Spectre fan LED's. Without the Hydra controller you can either have the lights either fully on or fully off.

The fans also come with all the screws needed to install them, with the 120mm fans all of the screws are painted black to match the fans styling, however once again the 140mm contains standard metallic screws which don't match the fans (What’s going on with this BitFenix?)

PERFORMANCE

I did a few tests to record the performance of these fans, the first one I did was put the Spectre 120mm fan and a Noctua NF-P12 horizontally on some homemade legs next to each other making sure that there was a sufficient gap under each fan. I then powered them up, took an A5 piece of paper, hovered it over each fan and measured how high each fan would hover the paper up away from the fan. The higher the paper floated the more air is being pushed through the fans.

The Spectre actually did really bad in this test as they only managed to float the paper less than half as high as the Noctua. The same happened with the 140mm fan compared to a very cheap Casecom fan although the Casecom was about 5 times louder than the spectre.

The next test was a CPU cooling test, I recorded the coolest temp my i7 920 @ 4.2Ghz got with the NH-12P SE cooler and original NF-12P fans in a push and pull setup. I then did a Heaven Benchmark run and record the max temp the CPU hit on each core.

I then did the same test after replacing the fans with the 120mm Spectre fans and although we proved previously that the fans don't push as much air as the Noctua's the cooling results told a different story:
NH-12P SE cooler with Noctua fans-

Core -- Coolest Temp (Celsius) -- Hottest Temp (Celsius)
1
38
58
2
40
60
3
42
62
4
36
58

NH-12P SE cooler with Spectre fans-

Core -- Coolest Temp (Celsius) -- Hottest Temp (Celsius)
1
35
52
2
38
53
3
39
56
4
33
50

As you can see the results are impressive with a good improvement over an already great fan. Although I'm no expert and I'm a little confused why the fan pushes less air than the Noctua but then cool better, I do believe these fans may make decent radiator fans.

Due to no being an expert on fans I wasn't sure exactly why the Spectre's didn't fair too well on the hovering paper test but still did very well with cooling, however Re-Evolution kindly gives some insight:

"The paper hover test you did is an indicator of pressure not cfm, they don't have a direct correlation. A lower pressure fan can still be higher in CFM due to many characteristics of fan design and fluid dynamics"

Thanks for that Re-Evolution


The second test I did was to test the 140mm fan performance, I fitted the cheap Casecom 140mm fan to my cases side panel and had it blowing over my GTX 460 GPU's in SLI. I recorded the GPU's coolest idle temps. I then ran the Heaven benchmark once again and recorded the GPU's max temp at the end of the test. I then repeated the test with the Spectre fan and took the same recordings:
GTX 460's temps with the Cascom fan-

GPU -- Minimum Temp (Celsius) -- Maximum Temp (Celsius)
1
32
66
2
33
68


GTX 460's temps with the Spectre fan-

GPU -- Minimum Temp (Celsius) -- Maximum Temp (Celsius)
1
28
61
2
32
66
Again another decent improvement from the Spectre, which doesn’t push as much air as its competition and makes nowhere near as much noise.


SOUND LEVELS

The Spectre fans are extremely quiet and can't be heard unless you put your ears really close to the fan itself, the 120mm is actually quieter in my opinion than the Noctua fans which are renowned for being near silent. The 140mm also make no more noise than its little 120mm brother being near silent.

I have 10 of these fans in my system and my Gigabyte GTX 460's with their twin windforce fans set to 40% (its minimum allowed speed) can be heard over all these fans together, and the windforce fans are extremely quiet GPU cooling fans.

In comparison I used to have to run the GPU fans at over 70% to be heard with my previous system fans.

LOOKS

I'm not going to say much here as these images speak louder than words:

DSCF5248.jpg

DSCF5250.jpg


They really are beautiful.


CONCLUSION

I'm really glad I took the leap and purchased these Spectre LED fans as they beat all my expectations of them. They cool very well, they are whisper quiet even with 10 of them in my system, I found no clicking issues which were reported in some youtube videos of the 140mm versions. They look stunning and really do add to the mood and feel of my system by nicely lighting up parts of the system around them.

The fans are really easy to install and come with everything you need, everything except 4 pin Molex connectors, so if that’s all you have to power the fans your going to need some 4pin to 3 pin fan converter cables.

These fans are very nicely priced for what you actually get, These Spectre LED fans are really understated and if you’re in the market for good looking, quiet and good performing fans then I would highly recommend you give these fans a try.

9/10


Thanks for reading through this review and I hope helps someone out there smile.gif
Edited by Chobbit - 7/1/11 at 3:39am
 
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post #2 of 20
Nice review.
The paper hover test you did is an indicator of pressure not cfm, they don't have a direct correlation. A lower pressure fan can still be higher in CFM due to many characteristics of fan design and fluid dynamics, most of which are beyond my comprehension.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Re-Evolution;14068081 
Nice review.
The paper hover test you did is an indicator of pressure not cfm, they don't have a direct correlation. A lower pressure fan can still be higher in CFM due to many characteristics of fan design and fluid dynamics, most of which are beyond my comprehension.

Thanks for that information Re-Evolution, I might add that into the review with credits going to you of course biggrin.gif REP+
 
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post #4 of 20
Cheers dude. I am grabbing loads of these for my water loop. Will let you know how they get on as radiator fans.
    
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by loki_reborn;15411783 
Cheers dude. I am grabbing loads of these for my water loop. Will let you know how they get on as radiator fans.

Awesome, glad the review helped. Wish I had a water cooling kit so I could have let you know myself how they perform, but all my findings suggest these being great fans for radiators.

Definetely update with how they perform incase me and others decide to go this route in the future biggrin.gif
 
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post #6 of 20
Well I should have 16 of these puppies showing up on Monday. Ill throw up some pics when they arrive and some results once the loop is put together.
    
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post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by loki_reborn;15583570 
Well I should have 16 of these puppies showing up on Monday. Ill throw up some pics when they arrive and some results once the loop is put together.

Looking forward too it, these fans need more love and you wont be disappointed biggrin.gif
 
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post #8 of 20
Would really love to see the end results of your WC when you finish.
I've been looking at BitFenix fans for awhile, They're priced right, jumper to turn off LED, Airflow is spot on and they look the part.
If not for this build, Next build I'm going to be looking a 4 x 120 Red, 4 x 120 Orange, 1 x 140mm Red. I'm not going to reveal much more.. But I'm working on the budget ^_~
 
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post #9 of 20
Nice review! It's great that you took the time to write this as there really aren't many reviews out there.
Bitfenix makes awesome products (especially their budget cases) and I think it'd be awesome if they became better known.
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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowEW;15615855 
Would really love to see the end results of your WC when you finish.
I've been looking at BitFenix fans for awhile, They're priced right, jumper to turn off LED, Airflow is spot on and they look the part.
If not for this build, Next build I'm going to be looking a 4 x 120 Red, 4 x 120 Orange, 1 x 140mm Red. I'm not going to reveal much more.. But I'm working on the budget ^_~

Wow your rig idea reminds me of what the inside of the sun might look like, if the sun was water cooled that is tongue.gif, keep a log and let us know how it goes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizlake;15615962 
Nice review! It's great that you took the time to write this as there really aren't many reviews out there.
Bitfenix makes awesome products (especially their budget cases) and I think it'd be awesome if they became better known.

Thanks, that means a lot. I know when I saw these fans I loved the look and price of them, the problem was there was next to no information or reviews on them (I think I saw another owners review on a different forum since doing this).

I thought I'd bite the bullet, find out what they are like and do the research myself and I'm glad I did, they are excellent, quiet and all 10 fans are still going strong with not a single problem.

Hopefully all the information people need to buy and enjoy these fans can now be found here OCN smile.gif

Also BitFenix really do make good products, I may get their Survivor Case as it looks like a fantastic compact and portable case.
Edited by Chobbit - 11/8/11 at 6:52am
 
Ti Fighter
(14 items)
 
G650
(6 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD x4 - Thanks for the donation (Make me an offer for a AM3 board) Winfast GTX 8800 - Thanks for the donation 4GB 1333 DDR3 RAM - Thanks for the donation 
Hard DrivePowerCase
A spare 128GB Corsair SSD (Make me an offer for a 400w minimum PSU) Antec 300 Case - Thanks for the donation 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 3970x @ 4.5 x79 sabertooth evga 780ti superclocked 32GB 1866 Vengence DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
512GB Samsung evo SSD 2TB Samsung Spinpoint H100i Windows 8.1 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
1440p Sharkoon Skiller Corsair AX850 Cooler Master HAF XB 
MouseAudio
R.A.T 3 TeckNet HS800 7.1 Surround Headphones  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i3-370M GMA HD 500 MHz 3GB DDR3 250GB 
Optical DriveOS
DL DVD RW Windows 7 Home Edition 
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Ti Fighter
(14 items)
 
G650
(6 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD x4 - Thanks for the donation (Make me an offer for a AM3 board) Winfast GTX 8800 - Thanks for the donation 4GB 1333 DDR3 RAM - Thanks for the donation 
Hard DrivePowerCase
A spare 128GB Corsair SSD (Make me an offer for a 400w minimum PSU) Antec 300 Case - Thanks for the donation 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 3970x @ 4.5 x79 sabertooth evga 780ti superclocked 32GB 1866 Vengence DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
512GB Samsung evo SSD 2TB Samsung Spinpoint H100i Windows 8.1 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
1440p Sharkoon Skiller Corsair AX850 Cooler Master HAF XB 
MouseAudio
R.A.T 3 TeckNet HS800 7.1 Surround Headphones  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i3-370M GMA HD 500 MHz 3GB DDR3 250GB 
Optical DriveOS
DL DVD RW Windows 7 Home Edition 
  hide details  
Reply
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